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8th May 2015

By Edward Eisler

Sourcing 2015 Dragon Well Gold

This year I have sourced an authentic West Lake Dragon Well as JING’s top grade of Dragon Well. The most famous green tea in China from its authentic and historical origin, this tea, of all the Dragon Wells I have tasted and sourced in the past, stands out for its classic flavour.

West Lake tea garden in spring dotted with tea pickers

Dragon Well is not one monolithic tea. There are variations even within what would be considered an authentic West Lake Dragon Well. The tea I sourced last year was from Meijiawu (one of several villages around West Lake) and typical of that style was its emerald green infusion and lighter floral aromas. This year I visited a small village called Wai Tongwu and spent several days in Mr. Shen’s workshop tasting the small batches of tea he produced daily.

Behind the workshop, the tea gardens nestled in the rolling hills that surround West Lake. Water flowed from the hilltop and the villagers tended smallholdings of tea bushes, all of the “old variety” cultivar traditionally used for Dragon Well tea.

This is a prosperous village in the richest province of China’s booming east coast economy. The villagers only produce tea during two or three weeks of the spring season, to give to their families or sell in small quantities online. Outside of this period, the village draws visitors for its traditional arts and crafts displays, its museum commemorating a Chinese war hero or the peaceful walks in the surrounding hills.

Spring Green Tea infusing on edges of tea garden from with it was picked

Drink It Now, At Its Best, In Spring

I chose this tea as JING’s Dragon Well Gold for its mouthwatering spring freshness with its absolutely classic Dragon Well taste of roasted chestnuts.

The traditional way to drink Dragon Well is sprinkle a pinch of leaves in the bottom of a tall glass and pour on near-boiling water. Most of the leaves will sink to the bottom of the glass; gently blow aside any remaining at the top and sip the tea as it cools. The strength of the infusion will increase towards the bottom of the glass, at which point you can top up with more water.

But to get the best out of this year’s Dragon Well Gold I recommend using our One-Cup Teapot For a perfect cup of Dragon Well take 4g of dry leaf and infuse in spring water at 70°C for 3 minutes before pouring off all the tea into a glass cup. Pause to admire the bright green infusion; breathe deeply and enjoy the aromas from the wet leaf; drink.